Study: Observers can spot best teachers

Cincinnati teachers who receive high ratings from trained observers also have high value-added scores, concludes a study by Harvard, Stanford and Brown researchers reported in Education Next.

The 10-year-old Teacher Evaluation System (TES) includes three observations by a an experienced teacher from outside the school and one by a school administrator. Evaluators and administrators must complete an intensive training course and accurately score videotaped teaching examples.

Teachers’ scores on the classroom observation components of Cincinnati’s evaluation system reliably predict the achievement gains made by their students in both math and reading. These findings support the idea that teacher evaluation systems need not be based on test scores alone in order to provide useful information about which teachers are most effective in raising student achievement.

TES evaluate all first-year teachers and fourth-year teachers up for tenure. After that, teachers are evaluated every fifth year. Teachers may volunteer for TES to earn the high scores needed to qualify as a lead teacher or TES evaluator.

Teacher Beat looks at the push to devise teacher evaluation systems.

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  1. Not really sure what it means to “use a broad range of multiple instructional strategies.” Does the word “multiple” add anything to the sentence?

    Perhaps there should be a rubric for rubric-writers.

  2. Michael E. Lopez says:

    One has to wonder if the language of these rubrics (and many other bureaucratically produced standards) reflects a lack of actual content at their core, or just the incompetence of the writers.

    Perhaps a bit of both?

    At any rate, there’s no such thing as a “range of strategies.” A good teacher has one strategy. It may involve multiple tactics, but having multiple strategies is a sure path to failure.

  3. I wonder if it’s “a range of strategies” rather then “a range of tactics” because strategy is the province of generals and tactics are the province of sergeants.

    If, as a “rubric-writer” you’re trying to obscure the fact that you don’t really have any value it’s better to try to masquerade as a general then a sergeant.

  4. What about “teacher uses a broad range of instructional strategies, none of which are effective or appropriate for the content” or “teacher uses just one instructional strategy, which effectively communicates the content”?

    The bias is built into the assessment.

  5. EdintheApple says:

    Take a look at the Charlotte Danielson Frameworks or the Kim Marshall Rubrics, they are the most commonly used mesures of teacher performance. Chicago is in Year 3 of a 100-school pilot that is being evaluated by the Chicago Consortium on School Research – their site has the Year 1 evaluation of the pilot.